Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Heroes: Diabetologist Dr. Anne Peters

Today I am going to introduce you to one of my own personal health care heroes. She is my endocrinologist, Dr. Anne Peters. She is nationally and internationally known for her expertise in the area of diabetes care, but to me she is my really caring and understanding doctor who listens to my concerns about having Type 2 diabetes and helps me get my blood sugar under control. She also helps my husband manage his symptoms of metabolic syndrome (characterized by high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin resistance) which seems to be a hereditary condition in his family.

Dr. Peters leads something of a double life: I see her at the Westside Center for Diabetes in Beverly Hills, but she also sees some of the poorest and most disadvantaged persons living with diabetes at the Edward R. Roybal Comprehensive Health Center in East Los Angeles. Her work at the Roybal Diabetes Management Program was featured in Remaking American Medicine: Healthcare for the 21st Century on PBS in October 2006. Her innovative approach includes plenty of face-to-face time with newly diagnosed persons with diabetes, teaching them about all the aspects of living with diabetes, including:
  • blood sugar monitoring
  • taking medications correctly
  • managing and preventing low and high blood sugar
  • the importance of proper foot care and regular eye exams
  • eating smarter and managing weight
  • counting carbohydrates that effect blood sugar
  • dealing with the psychosocial impact of living with diabetes
Her team includes nurses, diabetes educators, nutritionists and peer educators This approaches shows patients that they are not alone in dealing with their diabetes; there is a team behind them to support them. In this way, Dr. Peters and her team strive to reduce the number of hospitalizations related to diabetes into the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, which in turn helps to stretch dwindling County funds for health care.

Dr. Peters shares her knowledge with other in many ways, including the publication of her book
Conquering Diabetes: A Cutting Edge Program for Prevention and Treatment. You can also find her advice for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics free online at knol. She actively lectures, writes and conducts diabetes-related research. In addition to other numerous awards, she became the recipient of the American Diabetes Association's Distinguished Clinician Award in June of 2008.

I wish you co
uld meet Dr. Peters in person so you could understand just how special a doctor she really is. Since this is neither practical or possible, I thought I'd share this quote from a 2006 interview with Kelly Close of Close Concerns Consultancy. I think it really captures Dr. Peters' true spirit:
Ever since I was a little girl, I've always been interested in helping the underserved. It's a long story, but I went to PS 40 in New York City when I was little and they had twin desks where they would sit a good student with one who wasn't doing as well in school. I sat next to a little African-American boy, and my goal in school was to teach him how to read. Unfortunately, he was sick so much that he could never come to school, so I could never teach him to read and that is when I began to realize the effect illness had on education and poverty. At that point, I first decided that I wanted to work in underserved communities. I have always done volunteer work, and I try to give back to people who have less than I do.
I am proud to say Dr. Peters is my partner in managing my Type 2 diabetes. Her unique approach to patient care is what makes her my HERO.

Diabetes: Diabetes Prevention

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